LEIGH Centurions boss Paul Rowley is unhappy about a fixture gap in the pre-season preparations.
His team got their campaign off to a fine start with a comfortable 30-6 victory over a young Wigan team at the weekend and had planned to continue their efforts in a rescheduled clash with troubled Salford City Reds that has now been cancelled.
Rowley said: “I spoke to Phil Veivers (Salford coach) on Monday because I’d heard some whispers and as far as I was concerned I’d not been informed otherwise about the game.
“Phil said that he had known for over a week they’d not be playing the game.
“Their offices are only 10 metres away from ours because they are based at the Sports Village so it would have been nice to have been told. I’m very disappointed by it.
“It’s a blow because we would have organised a different game. We wanted three friendlies. We wanted to give all of our players an opportunity to play and our new players the chance to bed in at the club.
“Salford play Wigan the week after they were due to play us and Wigan requested that they bring the game forward to the Thursday night.
“They have basically ditched us to accommodate Wigan. Look beyond all the problems they are having at the moment, it’s that their squad can’t double up in a short space of time, but they weren’t compelled to change that fixture.
“I feel it’s a bit of a disregard of us and I’m really disappointed in it.
“Having had to call one game off, the level of commitment to fulfill their second fixture you would have thought would have been very high, but clearly not.”
The club are now stuggling to fit a third game into schedules, with many teams restricted with available dates.
There was an option with Workington but the dates are unworkable.
Rowley said: “Workington asked us about a friendly a couple of weeks ago and I had to turn them down because of the Salford fixture.
“There was a possibility we could play on the Thursday but we then play Swinton on the Friday and looking at it, it’s probably not what we are going to do. It’s the lesser of the two evils to have no game at all. It’s frustrating really.
“We wanted to build off our previous game with a sterner test against Salford and try and improve some of the things that we felt we needed to.
“We go into a Swinton fixture undercooked, they’ll have had quite a lot more preparation time than ourselves. It certainly does dictate to us about our game-time.
“It’s not good but there are far more positives around our club and I’d rather be where we are at the moment than where Salford are.”
Leigh will keep an eye on Stuart Littler, Johnny Pownall and Mat Gardner who all came off injured against Wigan as they build for their fixture with Swinton on Friday, January 25.
* Match details inside